Leeds United pair Rodrigo and Diego Llorente took some time to win over Elland Road support, but just over a year after their move in 2020, they have become known as reliable operators under Marcelo Bielsa.
Llorente in particular has impressed and fought for his place together with club captain Liam Cooper in central defense. At the same time, Rodrigo has performed a largely ungrateful task, adapting his game to meet Marcelo Bielsa’s preferences, before being asked to replace Patrick Bamford.
Their encouraging individual start to the 2021/22 campaign prompted everyone to recall the Spain plan for this month’s international break.
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Llorente has eight internationals for Spain, but had not been in Luis Enrique’s squad during the international matches in September and October.
Prior to November’s call, Rodrigo had not been involved in the competition in Spain since October 2020.
He returned to the group with a replacement in the 1-0 win over Greece earlier this week.
On their way into Spain’s last World Cup qualifier match 2022 with Sweden, the duo is facing a winner-takes-all scenario.
Group B is nicely ready with Spain at 16 points and Sweden at 15.
Only one nation per group will automatically qualify for next year’s tournament, while the other will have to endure the uncertainty of a play-off against other UEFA nations.
It was thought that Spain would have to settle for a place in the playoffs, but the latest results have gone in their favor.
On Thursday night, Sweden was defeated 2-0 by Georgia, while Spain defeated Greece, which blew up the Scandinavian nation in the process.
It has since placed Spain in the driver’s seat ahead of their final group game, which will ultimately determine who qualifies for Qatar 2022.
Spain will host Sweden at the Estadio de La Cartuja in Seville tonight. Kick-off is 19:45.
Elsewhere on the international stage, Liam Cooper helped Scotland qualify for a World Cup play-off victory in Moldova earlier this week.
Sam Greenwood has also been promoted to the England U21 squad due to Conor Gallagher’s call-up to the senior squad.